Irish Rower Zoe Hyde Sets Sights on Paris Olympics
Zoe Hyde, an Irish rower, is currently in Italy for a training camp as she prepares for the upcoming World Championships in Serbia. These championships will serve as the first opportunity for athletes to qualify for the 2024 Olympics in Paris. Hyde and her partner, Sanita Puspure, are focused on giving their best performance and securing a spot for the Irish team. They will also have a second chance to qualify at another event in Lucerne next May.
Last year, at the World Championships, Hyde and Puspure won a bronze medal in a thrilling race. They were neck-and-neck with an Austrian pair throughout the race, with only .43 of a second separating the two boats in the final 500 meters. Hyde and Puspure displayed incredible determination and finished with the fastest 500-meter split, securing their third-place finish and the bronze medal.
Hyde describes the race as a tight competition and recalls the amazing season they had. She expresses her admiration for Puspure and considers it an honor to race alongside her. The duo’s success has fueled their motivation for the upcoming challenges.
Training days for Hyde begin at 6 am, and she emphasizes the level of focus required at this elite level. Training camps provide a structured environment where everything is organized, including meals and training sessions. Typically, there are two to three sessions per day, which can vary between long-distance rows and high-rate movements. The athletes have a midday break before continuing with an afternoon/evening session. This rigorous routine leaves little time for anything else, emphasizing the commitment required to excel in the sport.
Hyde is part of Team Deloitte, a group of 19 professionals training to qualify for the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Paris. Deloitte has a history of attracting athletes, with 37 professionals having participated in previous Olympic and Paralympic Games. These athletes have represented 15 countries in 21 different sports and have won a total of 16 medals. Hyde explains that she was working full-time with Deloitte until she received the call to join the Irish team. Deloitte has been supportive, allowing her flexible hours to integrate her sporting schedule. After the bronze win at last year’s World Championships, Deloitte gave her the opportunity to focus entirely on rowing and qualification for the Olympics. If they achieve qualification for Paris 2024, Deloitte will continue to support Hyde in prioritizing rowing over work.
The balance between work and sport is crucial for Hyde. She appreciates the flexibility offered by Deloitte, allowing her to stay connected with the office even during training camps. Hyde keeps in touch with her boss, Kevin, and occasionally contributes to work-related tasks. Having the ability to pursue dual careers helps her maintain a sense of balance and prevents sport from becoming overwhelming.
Hyde’s passion for rowing waned during her college years due to the demands of her studies. However, in her final year of college, she rediscovered her love for the sport and began rowing more frequently. The COVID-19 pandemic played a significant role in her journey towards the Olympics. Working from home during lockdown, Hyde had the flexibility to establish a consistent exercise routine. She credits this routine, which involved rowing every morning and evening, for reigniting her passion for rowing. The pandemic provided her with the opportunity to focus on her training and ultimately pursue her Olympic dreams.
As Zoe Hyde continues her training in Italy, she remains determined to secure a spot for the Irish team in the upcoming Olympics. Her dedication, along with the support of her partner, coach, and Team Deloitte, positions her well for success. Hyde’s story is a testament to the resilience and adaptability of athletes, especially during challenging times. With the World Championships and subsequent qualification events on the horizon, all eyes will be on Hyde and her pursuit of Olympic glory in Paris 2024.